Making Democracy Work
Improve access to the ballot, particularly for those previously convicted of a felony, modernize elections to allow for better representation and more flexibility, facilitate better understanding of initiatives.
News This Week
While we've had a number of our priority bills pass their House of origin, there are still a few that need to move in the next few days.
SB 5015, Protecting ballots from fake ballot boxes, passed the Senate unanimously. We hear that legislators are receiving an overwhelming number of emails from a well organized campaign to keep problematic advisory votes on the ballot. We need all of you to let your legislators know it is time for them to go.
2021 Democracy Lobby Week Wraps Up
If you missed any of the programs you can see recordings of all the public events on the Democracy Lobby Week page.
Bills Needing Action This Week
Eliminating Advisory Votes SB 5182 Advisory votes are questions that appear on the ballot regarding state expenditures that have already been passed by the legislature. Although their wording (Repealed | Maintained) suggests that they are binding referenda, the results do not have any impact. They add significantly to the costs of elections and voters are not informed about them because reliable information is virtually impossible to find. Having votes that do not count for anything is inconsistent with League principles. We need this bill to be voted on in the Senate in the next two days. That will in part be dependent on senators knowing there will be support for this bill in the House.
Voting Rights Restoration HB 1078 This bill will strengthen our democracy, increase public safety, and promote racial justice by automatically restoring the right to vote for every citizen living in the community. HB 1078 has passed the House 57-41!!! The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate State Government and Elections Committee on March 10. Please sign in in support of that bill now.
Ranked Choice Voting
HB 1156 would allow local jurisdictions the option to use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for local elections. LWVWA positions clearly support alternative election systems, including RCV, which offers voters more choice, eliminates the spoiler effect, encourages more positive, issued-focus campaigns, and may lower election and campaign costs when jurisdictions choose to eliminate primaries.
The bill originally included an option of eliminating all odd-year elections, but the sponsor has agreed to remove that portion. This bill also includes a provision legal cost reimbursement for lawsuits filed under the Washington Voting Rights Act if the jurisdiction settles. The current law provides reimbursement only if the challenge is settled in court, which serves as a discouragement for an out-of-court settlement.
This bill was pulled from the Rules Committee and is now on second reading, so it could be voted on at any time.
Closing the Revolving Door